Architectural Weathervane Company LaunchesAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Growing up on the East Coast, John Bissell was enchanted by the weathervane perched atop his grandmother’s cottage on Martha’s Vineyard. Its form was a large wooden sailing ship, and the image captivated his young imagination. Years later, he’s designing and producing weathervanes through his new Los Angeles-based company—and he thinks he might be running the only business of its kind on the Left Coast.
The outfit is called Architectural Weathervane Company and the designs are based on history and whimsy. Several, like the Clipper Ship seen above, are inspired by classic New England designs depicting ships and angels.
According to Bissell, weathervanes were popular in early American towns located near the water. “Their economy was based on sailing ships,” he says. “The weathervanes were important to sailors who wanted to know which way the wind was blowing.” The angels were often located on city buildings and were a reminder of piety for religious settlers.
Later, in the Midwest, weathervanes had a similar importance for farmers who watched the winds for hints of impending weather patterns. The weathervanes atop big red barns often had farm themes, and Bissell recalls them in some of his products such as the Race Horse and the Rooster.
Or, for the farmers of Swedish descent, the Folk Art Horse.
Other models are based on modern day flights of fancy. Pug, for instance, looks like a neighbor’s dog.
And the Elephant & Baby weathervane was made simply because Bissell likes elephants and has heard they are symbols of good luck if their trunks are raised.
No matter what the gensis of the designs, they share a simple, clean look that’s touched by nostalgia. As far as choosing the right one for a modern home, Bissell’s advice is simple: “No matter what kind of style your home is, I think you should just pick the one you like and speaks to you,” he says.
All the weathervanes are made out of steel in Los Angeles and cost $175.
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